ONE of the country’s biggest letting agencies, Ely Property Group, has been ordered to pay €30,000 compensation to a former female employee by the Equality Tribunal after it was found to have discriminated against her on grounds of gender.
The tribunal said it was satisfied that one of Ely’s managers believed that the complainant, as a female, was not capable of using physical force to handle troublesome students at one of the student accommodation facilities the company managed in Donegal.
Zena Boyle, who was employed as housing manager with Ely, said her line manager used foul and abusive language to her after she reported a large number of complaints from students on the standard of the facility.
She believed her manager was looking for a tough male who was prepared to use physical means to deal with troublesome students.
She also said her manager did not deal with offensive graffiti about her on a wall of the student complex.
She said she was instructed on one occasion to put students’ personal belongings into plastic bags and throw them outside, while also changing the locks.
Ms Boyle said she organised a recruitment campaign to appoint a caretaker for the building, to find it was intended that the successful applicant would replace her.
The man chosen admitted to her manager that he had a previous criminal convictions for assault. He gave evidence that Ms Boyle’s manager told him his first task was to sack her and escort her off the premises.
He also described claims by Ely witnesses that he had not taken up the job because he had been threatened by people acting for Ms Boyle as an absolute fabrication.
The tribunal said it was satisfied Ms Boyle’s manager had used foul and abusive language to her and about her which was offensive, humiliating and intimidating.
It also ruled that she had been fired from the job because she was a female. Ms Boyle’s manager has since left employment with Ely.
Ely was also ordered to introduce a code of practice on harassment within three months and arrange training for staff on its implications.
In another case, a waste management firm, Mulleady’s of Drumlish, Co Longford was ordered to pay €20,000 to a Lithuanian worker, Aidotas Gedrinas, after the Equality Tribunal found it had discriminated against him on grounds of his race.
Faughan Foods of Athboy, Co Meath was ordered to pay €5,000 to a former employee, Laima Daugintiene, after the tribunal found it discriminated against her on the grounds of race in its decision to sack her.
Iarnród Éireann was ordered to pay €750 to a passenger with a visual impairment for requiring him to queue daily to obtain a DART ticket, because he uses a free travel pass.
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